Chilean backpacker bashed and stabbed to within an inch of her life in a hostel kitchen just hours into dream Australian holiday opens up on the ‘scariest day of her life’ – as her attacker learns his fate
- Constanza ‘Kuki’ Escudero was staying at Gecko’s Backpackers Resort in Cairns
- Raynard Gregory Moodoonuthi, 37, punched her in the face and stabbed her
- Ms Escudero said the attack left her with trauma, nightmares and fearful of men
- Moodoonuthi had a 15-year criminal history involving attacks on women
- He must serve 80 per cent of his eight year sentence before eligible for parole
A Chilean backpacker who was bashed and stabbed by a cleaner at a hostel in Queensland has opened up about the terrifying ordeal that has left her forever fearful of men.
Constanza ‘Kuki’ Escudero had just arrived in Australia when Raynard Gregory Moodoonuthi, 37, punched her in the face and plunged a knife into her neck at Gecko’s Backpackers Resort in Cairns in August 2019.
The brutal attack came after Moodoonuthi made an unwanted advance toward the 26-year-old in the hostel’s kitchen.
Constanza ‘Kuki’ Escudero had just arrived in Australia when a hostel cleaner punched and stabbed her
If Moodoonuthi’s knife had plunged into Ms Escudero’s neck just millimetres further, she would have died
Ms Escudero’s victim impact statement was read to the Cairns Supreme Court this week during Moodoonuthi’s retrial.
Ms Escudero, who returned to Chile a week after the attack, said the incident has left her with trauma, nightmares and fearful of men.
‘(It was) the most scary day of my whole life. I never thought I was going to run for my life. I truly thought I was going to die that day,’ the statement read.
The court heard that if Moodoonuthi’s knife had plunged into Ms Escudero’s neck just millimetres deeper, she would have died.
Moodoonuthi had a 15-year criminal history involving attacks on women, the Cairns Post reports.
‘He seems to have no difficulty in being prepared to hit women. She’s screaming for her life, terrified,’ Justice Jim Henry told the court.
‘(A hostel) should be a safe haven for tourists in our beautiful part of the world.’
Moodoonuthi was charged with attempted murder, but he ultimately plead guilty to the lesser charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He was sentenced to eight years behind bars, and must serve 80 per cent before being eligible for parole.
Following the viscous 2019 attack, a pair of nurses, who were also staying at the hostel, rushed to help Ms Escudero.
They provided first aid before she was taken to Cairns Hospital.
Ms Escudero had a working holiday visa and planned to find a fruit picking or hospitality job in Australia with her friend and travel companion
Ms Escudero was staying at Gecko’s Backpackers in Cairns (pictured) when the cleaner stabbed her in the kitchen
Cairns Police Detective Sergeant Brad McLeish said Ms Escudero was lucky to be alive.
‘These two NSW nurses, who were up here on holiday, saw the victim running from the scene and gave first aid despite the risk to themselves with the alleged offender still in the vicinity,’ he said.
Detective Senior Sergeant Ed Kinbacher said at the time the 26-year-old backpacker’s injuries were severe.
He also said her survival was a ‘pure fluke’ as major arteries in her neck were missed by ‘mere millimetres’.
Ms Escudero had a working holiday visa and planned to find a fruit picking or hospitality job in Australia with her friend and travel companion 26-year-old Marisol Fernandez.
Despite her ordeal, the Chilean national said she hopes to one day return to Australia.